Ruthie Henshall has opened up on her fears that her mother will die in her care home thinking she had been 'abandoned' by her own family, after her
Ruthie Henshall has opened up on her fears that her mother will die in her care home thinking she had been ‘abandoned’ by her own family, after her visits were cut amid the pandemic.
The West End star, 53, has been unable to hug her dementia-stricken mother Gloria, 87, since March due to coronavirus restrictions, with Gloria having faced a four-month isolation period after 13 of her fellow residents died from Covid-19.
And Ruthie has told that she lives in ‘constant fear that I’m going to get a call telling me the worst’ as she expressed her worry that her mother’s condition has rapidly deteriorated following months of loneliness.
Heartbreaking: Ruthie Henshall has opened up on her fears that her mother will die in her care home thinking she had been ‘abandoned’ by her own family, after her visits were cut amid the pandemic
Speaking to The Telegraph, the I’m A Celebrity star told of her campaign with Rights for Residents, which is calling on Parliament to pass emergency legislation that enshrines in law the rights of ‘essential family carers’.
The campaign is hoping for a change to allow two family members to be ‘essential carers’ for a relative, who can visit their care home regardless of coronavirus restrictions.
Ruthie told how her Ipswich raised mother changed from a confident, smartly dressed English and drama teacher to the shadow of her former self after dementia took hold.
She also explained the impact it had on her father, whom Ruthie said was left ‘broken’ as he watched Gloria’s health decline, with Parkinson’s also ‘ravaging’ her body.
So sad: The West End star, 53, has been unable to hug her dementia-stricken mother Gloria, 87, since March due to coronavirus restrictions (mother and daughter pictured before lockdown)
Sharing her dismay at her mother’s loneliness, she explained: ‘It breaks my heart to see Mum isolated in her care home, with no visits from family and friends. She is 87 and needs round-the-clock care for dementia; I’m growing ever more aware that she hasn’t got much time left.’
The TV star went on to say that she hasn’t been able to touch her mother since the first lockdown kicked in in March last year, adding she’s ‘terrified’ that her conditioning is ‘deteriorating’
She told how before the restrictions, she and her siblings used to visit Gloria three times a week and spend quality time with her that made her feel ‘very special’.
And with these regular visits no longer allowed, Ruthie expressed her fears that Gloria would not realise why her children no longer come and would think that they had forgotten her.
Worry: Ruthie has told that she lives in ‘constant fear that I’m going to get a call telling me the worst’ as she expressed her worry that her mother’s condition has rapidly deteriorated following months of loneliness
She said: ‘Touching was the most important thing for Mum: she would smile when I massaged her feet, or stroked her face. When you have a relative with dementia, you are their eyes, ears and memories. It hurts to think that she is locked inside her home, thinking that we have all abandoned her.’
Ruthie went on to speak of a recent FaceTime call with her mother in which she neither spoke or smiled, with Ruthie believing her mother is giving up on living due to her loneliness.
She added: ‘On the really dark days, I worry that she is dying. I live in constant fear that I’m going to get a call telling me the worst. It’s like walking around with a lump of grief that I can’t shake off.’
Fears: ‘It hurts to think that she is locked inside her home, thinking that we have all abandoned her’
The stage actress recently said she will ‘fight for the right’ to see her dementia-stricken mother in her care home after she discussed that particular upsetting Facetime call.
Ruthie said that Gloria ‘never said a word or even smiled’ during the call – as she vowed to continue to push for people to be allowed to visit elderly relatives in care homes during lockdown.
She told her followers on Twitter: ‘I had a Facetime with my mum Gloria today. She never said a word or even smiled. I am going on BBC news and ITV news this week to fight for the right to see my mummy.’
On Instagram she added that it was a ‘postcode lottery as to whether you can see your relative. Some care homes are allowing visits and some are not.’
Decline: I’m a Celeb contestant Ruthie wrote that her mum Gloria ‘never said a word or even smiled’ during their most recent call – and called the current visiting situation for families of people in care home a ‘postcode lottery’
Two weeks ago, the star slammed the government after learning her mother is yet to receive a COVID-19 vaccination, despite being in the highest-risk category.
The West End star shared contrasting photos of her mum before lockdown and since she’s been unable to have visits from close family due to Covid restrictions.
In one image, Gloria, is beaming happily, while the second photograph saw her present state ‘unable to walk or talk’ after deteriorating rapidly in the past few months.
Ruthie explained that the first image portrayed her mother prior to lockdown, with the second one taken of her after four months of isolation in her room at the care home, after 13 of her fellow residents died from COVID-19.
Fight: Two weeks ago Ruthie slammed the government after learning her mother has yet to receive a COVID-19 vaccination, despite being in the highest-risk group
She wrote: ‘I am furious and devastated. My mother has dementia. The first picture is my mother in the home she is in just before 1st lockdown.
‘The second is my mother after 4 months of being confined to her room because COVID was killing residents in the home. 13 died.
‘When my mother went into the lockdown she was walking and talking. She now can do neither. I am not allowed to see her. Only 1 member from each family can go, the same one each time.
‘You wanna know why I’m so angry? She hasn’t even had the vaccine yet! Neither have the brilliant tireless carers. I cried today when I found out this!’
Difference: In January, Ruthie took to Instagram and Twitter to share two snaps of her mum, Gloria. In one, Gloria was beaming happily while the second saw her, still smiling, but looking noticeably less healthy [the latter is pictured]
Tagging the UK government on Twitter, Ruthie went on: ‘What are you playing at? You said care homes were a priority!
‘I haven’t seen my mother in months and I have no idea if she will even know who I am when I do. Sort this out! It is unbearable. Simply unbearable!’ [sic]
MailOnline has contacted a representative for Ruthie for comment at the time.
‘Simply unbearable!’ Ruthie explained that the first image portrayed her mother prior to lockdown, with the second one taken of her after four months of isolation in her room at the care home, after 13 of her fellow residents died from COVID-19
WHAT IS DEMENTIA? THE KILLER DISEASE THAT ROBS SUFFERERS OF THEIR MEMORIES
Dementia is an umbrella term used to describe a range of neurological disorders
A GLOBAL CONCERN
Dementia is an umbrella term used to describe a range of progressive neurological disorders (those affecting the brain) which impact memory, thinking and behaviour.
There are many different types of dementia, of which Alzheimer’s disease is the most common.
Some people may have a combination of types of dementia.
Regardless of which type is diagnosed, each person will experience their dementia in their own unique way.
Dementia is a global concern but it is most often seen in wealthier countries, where people are likely to live into very old age.
HOW MANY PEOPLE ARE AFFECTED?
The Alzheimer’s Society reports there are more than 850,000 people living with dementia in the UK today, of which more than 500,000 have Alzheimer’s.
It is estimated that the number of people living with dementia in the UK by 2025 will rise to over 1 million.
In the US, it’s estimated there are 5.5 million Alzheimer’s sufferers. A similar percentage rise is expected in the coming years.
As a person’s age increases, so does the risk of them developing dementia.
Rates of diagnosis are improving but many people with dementia are thought to still be undiagnosed.
IS THERE A CURE?
Currently there is no cure for dementia.
But new drugs can slow down its progression and the earlier it is spotted the more effective treatments are.
Source: Alzheimer’s Society